The Injustice Done My Mother
by José Rizal (Translated, Austin Craig)
THE INJUSTICE DONE MY MOTHER
by José Rizal
Some days after my return
to Kalamba, my parents decided that I should remain, and that later I should
go to Manila. I wanted to study with a teacher of the town, even though I
could learn no more than multiplication, so I entered the village school.
At this time, an uncle of mine, Don José Alberto, returned from Europe. He
found that, during his absence, his wife had left his home and abandoned her
children. The poor man anxiously sought his wife and, at my mother's earnest
request, he took her back. They went to live in Biñan. Only a few days later
the ungrateful woman plotted with a Guardia Civil officer who was a friend
of ours. She accused her husband of poisoning her and charged that my mother
was an accomplice. On this charge, the alcalde sent my mother to prison.
I do not like to tell of the deep grief which we all, nine sisters and
brothers, felt. Our mother's arrest, we knew, was unjust. The men who
arrested her pretended to be friends and had often been our guests. Ever
since then, child though I was, I have distrusted friendship. We learned
later that our mother, away from us all and along in years, was ill. From
the first, the alcalde believed the accusation. He was unfair in every way
and treated my mother rudely, even brutally. Finally, he persuaded her to
confess to what they wised by promising to set her free and to let her see
her children. What mother could resist that? What mother would not sacrifice
life itself for her children?
They terrified and deceived my mother, as they would have any other mother.
They threatened to condemn her if she did not say what they wished. She
submitted to the will of her enemies and lost her spirit. The case became
involved until the same alcalde asked pardon for her. But this was only when
the matter was before the Supreme Court. He asked for the pardon because he
was sorry for what he had done. Such was his meanness that I felt afraid of
him. Attorneys Francisco de Marcaida and Manuel Masigan, Manila's leading
lawyers, defended my mother and they finally succeeded in having her
acquitted. They proved her innocence to the judges, her accusers and her
hosts of enemies. But after how much delay? -- After two and a half years.